West Hill Primary School

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Jan2013 08

West Hill Primary School and Enabling Enterprise; ‘Ready to learn, Inspired to succeed, Prepared for life’

‘Now they will always do what it takes to finish a task’. Reflecting back on the experience so far with Enabling Enterprise, Sarah Feeney, Pastoral Care Lead of West Hill Primary School extols the virtues of enterprise education and the effect it has had on the pupils at the school. The school started working with Enabling Enterprise last year aiming to develop their Year 5’s students core skills, a key one being resilience. She has seen those Year 5 pupils, who are continuing with projects this year, and the new Year 5 become far more adept at understanding and addressing the problems and obstacles that stand in the way of finishing a task.

Since that time, pupils have successfully led and completed a range of enterprise projects including turning recycled trash into a Toy of the Future for Trash to Treasure and designing their own real-life building project as part of the new Kings Cross development through Construction Counts. According to Ms Feeney, the skills and experiences that they have picked up along the way have been invaluable.

Enterprising minds, thinking alike…

At Enabling Enterprise, we see all of our schools as partners in a movement that aims to ‘equip young people with the skills, aspirations and experiences they need to succeed in life’. In West Hill Primary School, we have a partner who believes in this mission as much as us, with a school mission statement that insists you must be ‘Ready to learn, Inspired to succeed, Prepared for life’. Together, we are trying to empower children to utilise the experiences and skills today for the success in life later. Only if we give pupils the opportunities to acquire these experiences and learn these skills can we say our shared mission is successful.

Are we close?

Westhill’s enquiry based curriculum helps make their pupils leaders of the own learning and the projects the school have been running with Enabling Enterprise in both Year 5 and 6 are helping pupils do just that. In small teams, students have been leading on their own projects in class, which Ms Feeney has said has given them an ‘understanding of how to learn as a team’ including ‘listening to each other, valuing others ideas and putting their ideas into practice’. During the Trash to Treasure project for example pupils had to present their designs to the rest of the class before returning to the drawing board where as a team they had to modify them based on the feedback they received. Students have quickly learnt that constructive criticism or ideas from others are just as important as their own in helping them succeed.

‘Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts’ (Winston Churchill)

Perhaps the greatest quality to have in life is seeing failure as part of the path to success; only by learning from mistakes will you understand how success can happen. But, if these mistakes do not matter, then why would you learn from them? That is why as Ms Feeney points out a key part to their success on their projects is that they can ‘make it real’. The experience for example of coming up with an idea, the planning and implementation of turning it into a reality in time to deliver a presentation in front of important judges is what ‘makes it real’ and therefore makes it matter. Their trip at Oliver Wyman, an International Management Consultancy this term gave them opportunity to do just that. Here they had the chance to put their skills and experiences from the classroom into practice with the challenge of overturning a failing airline. From coming up with a unique marketing campaign to creating an on-flight product magazine to boost products, students were able consider and then take the steps needed as a team to meet the challenge.

United all the way

Of course working and presenting in front of real professionals gave the challenge an extra edge but through the resilience and team work skills they have been developing in the classroom they were able to approach the day with great confidence. The volunteers from Oliver Wyman were delighted with the pupils determination to complete each task to their best under tight deadlines and were even more impressed when they held their nerve to present to over 50 people in the room. This was something our volunteers said they still get nervous about now, let alone when they were just 10 years old!

The challenge day at Oliver Wyman is not only a chance to celebrate their successes on the classroom projects and to put their skills and experiences into practice. It gives them, Ms Feeney observes an ‘appreciation of the workplace, to visualise the atmosphere’ that they are aspiring towards. The understanding and experience of how their skills around teamwork and resilience for example are needed and respected just as much in the workplaces as the classroom, helps them see their learning in another way; not just something they have to do because adults tell them it’s important but something they can now tell themselves is important. The pupils of Year 5 and 6 at West Hill certainly demonstrated that appreciation and it’s clear they are always ‘Ready to learn, Inspired to succeed’ and ‘prepared for life’.

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